The Unlikely Fate of the Wright Brothers

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Wright Brothers changed history when they took the world's first engine-powered flight. It didn't take long for countries around the world to realise that the Wright flying machine had the potential to revolutionise warfare and soon everybody wanted flying machines of their own. But the US didn't have the advantage; Historian and TV Consultant Gavin Mortimer tells Dan Snow that after that first flight, the Wright Brothers spent more time in court trying to protect their patent and ground other aviators than they did in their workshop. Not only did it make them largely despised by their contemporaries, they quickly fell behind in the race to master the air.

For more about those dramatic days of pioneering aviation, Gavin's book is called 'Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Changing American Aviation'

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This episode was originally published on Dan Snow's History Hit on 17 December 2021.

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